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WinCo, Fry's, Safeway or Walmart? Which grocery chain has the lowest prices?

Posted at 4:02 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 17:10:13-05

Grocery stores are in a knock-down drag-out fight for your business.  Think of all the different incentives and perks they offer.  From curbside pick up to wine bars, at-home grocery delivery to free cookies or fruit for kids. You can even find bands playing outside some of them on warm Valley nights. They're trying to woo you with bigger and better and flashier and more. 

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But if none of that impresses you, and you simply want to walk away with the cheapest bill, there's an easy winner in the bunch. We compared 15 items at WinCo, Fry's, Safewayand Walmart.

Drum roll, please...

WinCo time and time again came out on top. If you purchased these same items at full price, you'd save 25-percent at WinCo over Safeway. 

  Fry's Safeway Walmart WinCo
Whole milk, one gal. $2.39 $2.39 $1.88 $1.88
Idaho potatoes, 5 lb. $2.29 $3.29 $2.77 $1.48
Iceberg lettuce, head $0.99 $1.69 $1.48 $0.98
JIF peanut butter, Natural Creamy 16 oz $2.99 $2.99 $2.50 $2.50
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, 48 oz. $4.59 $3.99 $3.98 $4.90
Canned sweet corn, 15 oz. $0.65 $0.69 $0.50 $0.50
White sandwich bread, 24 slices $1.25 $1.69 $1.58 $1.18
Shredded sharp cheddar, 8 oz. $2.29 $3.99 $2.22 $1.84
85% Lean Ground Beef, 1 lb $5.49 $4.49 $4.88 $5.49
Honey Nut Cheerios, Family Size 21.6 oz $4.19 $3.33 $3.64 $4.38
Sour Cream, 16 oz $1.79 $1.89 $1.74 $1.18
Doritos, Nacho Cheese Flavored 9.75 oz $3.49 $4.89 $2.50 $2.48
Grade AA Large Eggs $1.99 $2.49 $2.10 $0.97
100% Orange Juice, 64 fl oz. $2.79 $2.99 $2.58 $2.02
Cream cheese, 8 oz. $1.49 $2.99 $1.46 $1.22
Total paid $38.67 $43.79 $35.81 $33.00

I'd go as far as to say WinCo blew the other three out of the water in terms of how many identical products were cheaper.  However, there are a few disclaimers.

First, WinCo is no frills.  None. Like, it doesn't even have baggers or the ability to accept credit cards.  Debit only. So if grabbing a Starbucks and perusing the gourmet cheese bar, then racking up airline miles on your credit card is your thing, you'll be out of luck if you shop at WinCo. You can't get your hair cut or nails done or eyes checked at WinCo either. If those things don't matter to you, WinCo is your place.

Second, all of the prices we listed did not take sales or reward perks into account.  So if you watch for sales, you may get a better deal elsewhere on some of the products.  

Finally, there are only seven WinCo locations in Arizona.  There are about seven times as many Fry's Food locations and Walmart stores. 

*WinCo only had ground chuck during our visit, so the ground beef price on the list reflects that.

Every week the Smart Shopper team scouts out the best deals from grocery circulars around the Valley and publishes them here.